On the blog today is our adventure home that focuses on fun in West Texas plus New Mexico!
For those of you who follow us, you might have realized that we’ve been in Texas escaping the winter for some months now. But alas, it was time to face the cold music and head back to Minnesota. We’ve done the trip multiple times by now, but this time we wanted to see some stuff and what the US has to offer. So we decided to go west through West Texas, NM, AZ, and Utah.
So to break it up we decided to start with this blog entry be about just the fun in West Texas plus New Mexico.
Our first stop trekking through Texas was at Fort Davis so that we could go to the McDonald Observatory because Earl loves stars and I wanted him to experience some thing amazing.
Luckily the sky cooperated and the timing of the moon was perfect so we were able to learn a little bit like how the brightest star is not the North star it’s actually called Sirius and other things that hopefully I will remember. The tour also included us looking through different sized telescopes. One of which allowed us to see Orion’s Nebula which I would describe as looking like a wispy cloud.
The next day we decided to try our legs at hiking with our new hiking boots and our new walking sticks. Feeling like very professional hikers, we went on about a 2 mile jaunt on the mountain up Indian lodge loop trail. The start of the hike had a crazy incline and was very steep and the elevation didn’t help the breathing much, but we survived!
The cell service at Ft Davis was nonexistent which was very frustrating. In fact, while we were there, we had a client final meeting via phone at the visitor center in our car because that was the only spot we had any cell service! I’m so glad our clients have the same mindset of adventure as we do and understand that sometimes that means having a meeting in a car over the phone.
Ironically the best cell service was when we went on Indian Trail up the mountain. We joked that really we should have just had a meeting atop the mountain since that’s definitely on brand.
That evening we took a trip into the tiny town nearby where we had tacos and later a drink at the local bar. I almost forgot how much I enjoy small towns and talking to strangers. We even met some Minnesotans along the way.
The stop here was short but we had other places to be so Earl took the shift that was driving seven hours straight out of Texas past El Paso and into New Mexico to the Gila Forest.
We parked our scamp in the grapevine campsite to dry camp for the night. Make sure to ask me about how I managed to lock us out of the trailer and had to solve that problem essentially by using escape the room methods and mentality.
The weather this March was much colder than average and although we have a generator for the electric heater inside the Scamp, we don’t like to run it through the night. Thus, we went to sleep cold at about 40 degrees and woke to a frigid 15 degrees. It was a bit of a shock!
Luckily, our first stop of the day was to include a nearby hot springs aptly called Gila hot-springs and campground
We left our trailer and headed to the spa. It was absolutely amazing! There were 3 baths/hot springs operated by the land owners facing the river and mountain walls. The temperatures were around 104 and it was the perfect way to thaw our bad attitudes about the weather.
Afterwards, we headed to the big stop which was to see the Gila Cliff dwellings. While I’m certain that Mesa Verde gets more buzz, this place was awesome! First off, it was free. Secondly, you start by hiking along the Gila river with the cliff walls surrounding you. Then you hike up stairs to the caves where the Mogollon people paused their nomadic lifestyle and settled for a bit. While some re-construction was added, we were told that 80% of the cave dwellings were original which is fantastic! I love the concept of walking through the past and nothing does it better than some good ruins.
While the road trip through Texas is long and daunting, I would definitely suggest spending time at the McDonalds observatory and spending a few more nights in Ft Davis to look at the Stars in the dark sky.
My review of the Gila National forsest is that it is wonderful! After you get through the desert bowl of west Texas, you enter a magical land of Mountains, trees, gorgeous views, hot springs and some history about the native people. Would recommend!
Our next stop was headed to Arizona which we will tell you all about next time. Enjoy some of the pictures and snap shots via iPhone that capture a bit of our adventure so far.